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Letty Cottin Pogrebin

“It said, ‘There's no laughter in the women's movement,’ an ironic send-up of the charge commonly made against feminists which, as you can see…is patently untrue.” – Letty Cottin Pogrebin
Statement

The Ms. staff photo was taken in our editorial "bullpen" in June 1972. I had turned 33 a few days before. I'm the blonde on the upper left -- hair down to my pupik, huge aviator glasses. Gloria Steinem is sitting on the floor, Pat Carbine, our publisher is on the chair in the foreground, clearly the only grown-up in the room. I loved my desk because it was near a window and I could keep a couple of plants alive through the winter. The photo of me laughing hysterically with former-Congresswoman Bella Abzug was taken in 1990 at the annual feminist seder that I've been attending for the last thirty-six years and of which I'm one of the founding "Seder Sisters." Bella came to our seder nearly every year and though she was famous for being a tough cookie and occasionally making her staff members cry, she always made me laugh. Notice the tallit draped over one of her signature hats; I think that's what I was laughing about. The gossamer scarves tied together that stretch in front of Bella and off to the right comprise what we call "the sacred schmatta." We are about to perform the ritual with which we always end the seder -- wrapping ourselves in the circle of the "sacred schmatta" and singing "Hinei ma tov u'manayim" in which we substitute "achiyot" (sisters) for "achim" (brothers) in the lyric. Standing between Bella and myself is her elder daughter, Eve. Wearing glasses In the background near the stairs is Nadine Brozan, who wrote the wonderful feature story about our seder that appeared in the New York Times on April 9, 1990. The photo of me with Marlo Thomas, Gloria Steinem, Robin Morgan, and Pat Carbine -- all of us caught in full-throated laughter-- was taken at one of our Ms. magazine evening celebrations, I believe in the late 1970s. I'm wearing a black velvet shirt with the word "Ms." sewed in sequins which, believe it or not, I found at Alexanders Department Store. The photo was given to me by Marlo in an engraved silver frame. It said, "There's no laughter in the women's movement," an ironic send-up of the charge commonly made against feminists which, as you can see by two out of three of the above photos, is patently untrue.

Biography

Letty Cottin Pogrebin is a writer and activist whose work has shaped the feminist agenda for more than a generation. A graduate of Brandeis University, she is a Founding Editor of Ms. Magazine, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. She also co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the Free to Be Foundation, as well as several Black/Jewish and Palestinian/ Jewish dialogue groups. Among her nine books is Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America, in which she extols the power of Jewish female role models to inspire contemporary acts of boldness and vision.

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Letty Cottin Pogrebin
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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Letty Cottin Pogrebin." (Viewed on July 31, 2014) <http://jwa.org/luncheon/2012/honoree/pogrebin-letty-cottin>.

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